Zorn supports Make it in Michigan plan, funding to continue fight against COVID-19

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn on Tuesday supported legislation to make Michigan more competitive for new investment and jobs, support local small businesses and continue the fight against COVID-19.

“We came together in a bipartisan way to approve innovative measures and important funding that will help attract and create good jobs and support our schools and communities as we continue to deal with the pandemic,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “The game-changing Make it in Michigan package will give our state better tools to attract new opportunities while including safeguards to ensure to our taxpayer dollars are being used effectively to create long-term, high-wage jobs.

“The plan also features personal property tax relief for our local small businesses that were tremendously affected by the pandemic and includes additional funding to support local governments who may be impacted by the personal property tax savings.”

Senate Bill 769 would create the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve (SOAR) fund, which would receive funds through a legislative appropriation. Funds from SOAR would be transferred to the Critical Industry Program (CIP) or Michigan Strategic Site Readiness Program (MSSRP).

House Bill 5603 would create the MSSRP to provide grants, loans, and other economic assistance for eligible applicants to conduct activities creating investment-ready sites. SB 771 would create the CIP, which would provide funds for qualified investments to qualified businesses for deal-closing, gap financing, or other economic assistance that create new qualified jobs and/or make capital investments (not for administrative purposes).

SB 85 would designate $1 billion for the program and includes $75 million to help hold local governments harmless for any revenue shortfalls they would see from a change in HB 5351 that would increase the state’s Personal Property Tax (PPT) exemption from $80,000 to $180,000 for small businesses to help counter losses incurred because of COVID-19.

“To build a better and stronger Michigan, we need to compete for the jobs of tomorrow while still supporting the job providers we have today,” Zorn said. “This achieves both goals and includes strong repayment provisions and reporting requirements to the Legislature to ensure the program is working and companies are living up to their end of the deal.”

HB 4398 is a budget supplemental, which is primarily funded through federal grants provided to Michigan in response to COVID-19. It includes:
• $150 million to assist K-12 schools in dealing with COVID-19 testing;
• $193 million to assist local airports and rural transit authorities;
• $140 million for emergency rental assistance;
• $14 million to hire nurses at nursing homes and long-term care facilities;
• $67 million in substance abuse and mental health block grants; and
• $100,000 to support mental health services for students, teachers, parents, administrators and first responders in the Oxford community dealing with the recent tragedy.

“We are being mindful that we need to ensure we effectively use the unprecedented level of federal funding our state has received to help our communities and our students come back from the coronavirus pandemic strong and ready to succeed,” Zorn said.